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Iranian authorities free detained journalist Dorothy Parvaz

The Al Jazeera journalist had been detained 19 days ago when she arrived in Syria before then being sent to Iran.

Undated file photo of US journalist Dorothy Parvaz.
Undated file photo of US journalist Dorothy Parvaz.
Image: AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo, File

AN AL JAZEERA JOURNALIST who was arrested upon her arrival in Syria 19 days ago and was then sent to Iran has been released safe and well.

Thirty-nine-year-old Dorothy Parvaz, who has Iranian, US and Canadian citizenship, arrived in Doha, Qatar, today and made contact with her family.

Her fiancé Todd Barker said he and Parvaz’s family “are elated” and expressed their gratitude to the Iranian authorities for her release, the Seattle Times reports. Barker said Parvaz told him she had been held in solitary confinement in a prison in Tehran and was not allowed any contact with her family.

She said she had been treated well and respectfully, he said. Al Jazeera reports that Barker thanked Al Jazeera, as well as the International Committe of the Red Cross and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) for their efforts in securing her release.

On the Facebook page dedicated to lobbying for her release, Dorothy’s brother Dan Parvaz said:

Finally, my sister is free. And while I’m grateful to the Iranian government for her treatment and release. I’m more grateful to all of you. particularly to the close friends and colleagues who maintained this page. You kept the faith, made phone calls, wrote letters, rallied, watched the media (some of you *were* the media)… and never lost hope. You have done a good thing, and at least in my mind, have been part of a great thing.

A spokesperson for the news organisation said they were with her “to find out more about her ordeal over the last 19 days”.

Parvaz arrived in Damascus to cover anti-government demonstrations in Syria on 29 April, but immediately disappeared. Syrian authorities refused to comment on the situation until about a week ago, when they said she had been sent to Iran after attempting to illegally enter Syria with an expired Iranian passport.

On Tuesday, Iranian officials said she had been travelling with several passports when she was detained, but did not say she was being held in Iran, which does not recognise multiple citizenship for Iranians.

The CPJ says that about 20 local and international journalists have been assaulted, detained in or expelled from Syria since protests against President Bashar Assad broke out in March.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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